James Coghill

Punting in February

I don’t know why I agreed to this—

a snow-dizzy scramble through fog
to waterlogged blankets drenched across knees
in the upturned cloche of a punt; today,

I’ll be your bad-mouthed propulsion,

duffel-coated, cursing the air blue
as my fingertips, feeling the grind
of the pole on the Cam’s frozen bed,

missing my own. You talked among yourselves,

tugged at sleeves, pointed towards
the antique, fossil encrusted backs
of Queens, Kings, Trinity, Magdalene

told old stories. But I was looking

for familiar faces, the chilled humph
of a duck betting the stack
of its fat and feathers against the wind

and losing; the same wind they say

is straight off the Ural mountains,
by way of Holland, and fens, sticks me
in the back as I go to turn us round, breath

leaving me like a cough of white pigeons.

James is currently located on the south coast, in Bognor 'as good as it sounds' Regis. Coming from Suffolk originally, he has been published both in print and online in a number of different guises: Lighthouse Literary Journal, Blackbox Manifold, IS&T, as well as in anthologies from Sidekick Books and The Emma Press. This year he read at the Xu Zhimo Festival of poetry in Cambridge. He has work forthcoming in the Rialto. This is the third poem he has had published in Acumen.'

James is currently located on the south coast, in Bognor ‘as good as it sounds’ Regis. Coming from Suffolk originally, he has been published both in print and online in a number of different guises: Lighthouse Literary Journal, Blackbox Manifold, IS&T, as well as in anthologies from Sidekick Books and The Emma Press. This year he read at the Xu Zhimo Festival of poetry in Cambridge. He has work forthcoming in the Rialto. This is the third poem he has had published in Acumen.’